Carroll County High School will have a radically different look and feel when school opens August 13.
Not only will the new HVAC system work be taking place, but the school will host ninth grade students for the first time. With a new sophomore class joining the incoming freshmen, CCHS will be home to about 600 new students this fall.
“Of the 1,200 students we have coming to the high school, half of them are brand new because you have a new sophomore class and a new freshmen class. That will take some adjustment for half of the school,” Carroll County High School Principal Charles (Chuck) Thompson said. “Every student that was at the intermediate school last year will be here. We will have 30 more staff members. It seems to be an ever-changing school setting.”
Thompson has sent a letter to all students and their parents who will be new to the school this year. The CCHS principal updates students on many aspects in the letter, including the construction that will be taking place to replace the HVAC system. Parent drop-off and pick-up will be in the front of the school at the lower loop (entrance is nearest the baseball field as this is a one-way street). Additionally, the senior parking lot will be re-opening for use this year.
With so much going on and so many new students entering the school for the first time, Thompson encourages students and parents to attend Carroll County High School’s Open House on Monday, August 12 from 12-6 p.m. There will be three information sessions that day at 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
“Those times are not for a specific class, just whenever students can get here with their parents,” Thompson said. “I would encourage them to attend.”
While ninth grade students will spend a good portion of their time in the renovated fieldhouse, or ninth grade wing, Thompson said freshmen’s time would be blended between the main building and the fieldhouse.
Bob Martin will join CCHS this year as an assistant principal. While he will be located in the ninth grade wing and will deal with freshman more than other grades, Thompson said Martin will deal with all students, along with assistant principals Adam Joyce and Roland Hall.
“When you start something new you are a little nervous, but it won’t be long before all the kids get used to their teachers and the operations of the school,” Thompson said. “I would expect this to be a great school year.”
But there will be plenty of challenges, something Carroll County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Strader Blankenship readily admits. The replacement of the HVAC system will cause for some untidiness at the high school, but he expects everything to transition fairly smoothly.
“We have the HVAC going, which is going to have some implications during the day, ceiling tile being out while they are working, and those kinds of things,” Blankenship said. “That will be interesting. Crews will come in about 4 or 4:30 p.m. after teachers have left and work until about midnight. And then our crews will come in and do their normal cleanup as well, but is going to be challenging, no way around it.”
The replacement of the HVAC comes just at the end of nearly two years of construction to the high school. Blankenship said the school system is extremely happy to have the new HVAC system, although the timing could be better. He expects most of the demolition to be finished by the time school starts, although there may be a few issues with cooling.
“We think that the demolition will be done by the time school starts. They have a very good start on it to be honest,” Blankenship said. “None of the piping system is working right now. There will be some temporary cooling. We want it to be as cool as normal, and it is a temporary compressor system that comes on a tractor trailer. It sits beside the building and they pipe it in. It cools the hallways and we will have to have doors open for cool air to circulate. It’s not a good solution, but it is what it is.”
The high school in Wise has been using a similar system for two years, Blankenship said, and hopefully CCHS won’t have to use it nowhere near that length of time.
“But we are going to cool the building as best as we can. And we may have a month in October where heating may be an issue and we just have to deal with it,” he said. “It appears we may not have a heating system in the building until November 1. That has issues with it as well. It is a building that doesn’t have windows, so it complicates things.”